New details in Brandon McDuffie trial
VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Action News is learning new details about the robbery and murder of a 69-year-old Tulare man earlier this in July.
The suspect in the case, Brandon McDuffie, was in court Friday in the South Valley to answer to the charges.
Friday Brandon McDuffie agreed to waive time so his attorney could do some more investigating on the case. If he is convicted of all the charges he is facing he's eligible for the death penalty.
Family members of 69-year-old Manuel Alves gathered outside a Tulare County courtroom after the suspect in Alves' murder appeared before a judge. Just a few feet away 19-year-old suspect Brandon McDuffie's family members talked with the public defender's office.
"It appears like there is going to be a lot of information that will come out that is not known right now that will shed a lot of light on the case," said David Rendahl with the Public Defender's Office.
Action News has learned McDuffie is facing a murder charge with two special circumstances for committing the murder during a robbery and a home burglary.
"The charges we've levied against him would carry the potential for a death penalty; a decision made after the preliminary hearing," said Anthony Fultz, Tulare County Assistant District Attorney.
The district attorney's office believes McDuffie had a goal to specifically rob then murder Alves.
"We do not believe it was a random crime. We believe the victim was targeted by the individual, that he was aware of who he was and was aware of the circumstances of his home," Fultz said.
While Alves' and McDuffies' wait for the case to proceed in court neighbors on a quiet Tulare street where the 69-year-old lived are still saddened by his murder.
"It was a big shock to the whole community, he hardly ever came outside except for late at night and then he was only outside for a few minutes. He didn't speak English so he didn't really communicate with people just a couple that spoke the Portuguese language," said Hondo King Alves' neighbor.
McDuffie will be back in court next month but it could be several months before a hearing is held to determine what charges he'll face at his trial.
visalia, tulare, local, jessica peres
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